Need to Know

Karen Cleveland. Ballantine, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-5247-9702-7
Former CIA analyst Cleveland’s assured if thinly plotted debut is an unusual mix of family drama and spy thriller. The narrator, CIA analyst Vivian, is part of a team in the Counterintelligence Center, Russia Division, that’s searching for agents running sleeper cells in the U.S. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her four young children and doting husband. Flashbacks chart the couple’s courtship, then their lives as hyperbusy young parents, delving deeply into maternal and marital love. When Vivian isn’t fretting about her family, she’s trying to extricate herself from a colossal treasonous mess that results from a startling discovery that she makes in the course of her research. The deep backstory may attract readers not usually drawn to espionage novels, but thriller fans who like tradecraft and action will have to look elsewhere. Agent: David Gernert, Gernert Company. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/23/2017
Release date: 01/23/2018
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-385-69090-4
Compact Disc - 978-0-525-53059-6
Paperback - 435 pages - 978-0-525-58782-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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